Patterson pushes for community planning
By: MACK SPENCER
PATTERSON — The city will soon start holding meetings on developing a strategic plan.
The effort to develop the Community Readiness Plan will be led by Anna Perry, who spent much of the last few years as a regional director for Louisiana Economic Development.
“This is part of the Louisiana Development-Ready Community Program,” Perry told attendees at Tuesday’s City Council meeting. The program “offers modules that we can use to develop our own community development plan.”
Perry urged citizens to volunteer and attend steering committee meetings to give their ideas and impressions of what Patterson is and should be.
“We have no formal plan now,” Mayor Rodney Grogan said. “This will help us set benchmarks of where we want to go. What we’re really doing is putting ourselves out for sale.”
Grogan said the plan would help Patterson market its assets, such as three shrimp docks that still exist but are not being used; and perhaps help to revitalize the old downtown.
“We’ve got an economic developer now, and we’ve found a grantwriter who isn’t going to charge us anything,” Grogan said. “With a developer and a writer, we can really go places.”
Citizens interested in volunteering may call City Hall at 395-5205.
In other business:
—Residents could see a break in their home insurance premiums, thanks to an improvement in the city’s fire rating.
Grogan said the fire department improved from Class 5 to Class 4 for service inside the city limits. The rating system includes dispatching capacity, kinds and amount of equipment, number of personnel, training and water capacity and availability.
—No action was taken on an agreement with AT&T for the company’s U-Verse service, or on a proposed restructuring of water rates.
City Attorney Russel Cremaldi said a 2009 ordinance made a franchise agreement with AT&T unnecessary. The water rate ordinance could not be acted on because it has not yet been published, he said.
The council did give first reading to an ordinance governing cleanliness and safety in cemeteries in the city limits.
—Cypress Sawmill Festival queens SKyla Webster and Rachel Lemoine invited city officials to their banquet March 17, and festival organizer David Bourdier touted the festival’s fifth Festival of the Year Award from the Louisiana Association of Fairs and Festivals. The last three Festival of the Year awards were won over, among others, the Breaux Bridge Crawfish Festival.
—Council members denied a zoning change at 601 Martin Luther King Jr. Ave.
—A Clean-Up Day in preparation for the Cleanest City Contest will be held March 17, 9-11 a.m. Volunteers are asked to meet at City Hall.
Grogan urged citizens to turn out and help the city win this year. “Last year, we lost to Scott by half a point,” he said.
Judging will be held March 28.
—SweeDee representatives apologized for delays in delivering cans and for recent bouts of non-collection of garbage. They also offered to bring larger receptacles for use during the Clean-Up Day.
—The March engineering report noted that the city is again waiting for authorization from the Department of Transportation and Development to begin construction on sidewalks along Catherine Street.
The report also noted an inspection of the water plant’s clarifiers scheduled for March 28, and meeting planned next week with water filter manufacturers.
—Council members approved can shakes for Patterson Project Graduation, Saturday, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., and the Patterson American Legion on March 17, 8 a.m. to noon. Both will be held at Catherine and Main streets.
—The council passed a resolution supporting the St. Mary Community Action Agency in its new round of competition for federal funding.
—Grogan said he and other city officials will meet with the city’s bond attorney March 15 at 3:30 p.m., after the attorney meets with the state Bond Commission that morning.
Council members Joe Russo III and Sandra Turner were absent from the meeting.